Heres a political trivia quiz for the voters who will decide wholl fill the vacated twenty sixth district state senate seat formerly held by Mark Ridley-Thomas. What does the district encompass? What committees does the senator sit on? Did you receive a newsletter, e-letter, bulletin, or attend a townhall or meeting from the senator telling you what legislative bills, motions, hearings, initiatives he introduced or passed? Did he invite you to a community event, activity, or meeting to give you an update on his legislative actions?
If you answered no to these questions youre not a political flunk out. Politicians have infinite dodges not to inform, engage, and involve their constituents. The political fog they envelop themselves and their Sacramento tenure in is a self-preserving defense mechanism to ensure election and re-election. This has effectively turned holding a political office and the race to get it into endless deal making, and self-promoting political careerism. This mocks the notion of accountability and enshrines regal entitlement on black elected officials.
Take the two purported front runners for the twenty-sixth senate district seat, Mike Davis and Curren Price. Both are our state assemblypersons. One has barely warmed the seat for his first term. The other is barely into his second term. The obvious question is how does abandoning their barely warmed seat to seat hop at their first chance serve the constituents who backed them for the assembly? And if another seat, say a congressional seat, opens up say next month will they seat hop again? Then theres the campaign. This tells even more about whats wrong with careerism politics in L.A. The front-runners jockey to grab all the cash they can, and nab the usual suspect endorsements from politicians, special interest business groups and labor unions. One front runner boasts that hes a shoo-in because he got the incumbent and the L.A. County Labor Federations endorsement. The idea is to scare anyone without either, which is everybody else, away. Entitlement Again.
The self-designated front-runners then blitz district voters with showy, photo-op brochures touting their accomplishments, make the rounds of the black churches, people a last day phone bank, and send blaring car caravans around on election day. This will likely be the first and last time that any other than the union and business special interest donors who bankrolled them see their recycled elected official until re-election time.
This take their constituents for granted mind set is hardly unique to black politicians in L.A. Its endemic in American politics. And thats all the more reason to put a word thats been sorely missing back into the race for the twenty sixth senate district seat and thats accountability.
– Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a political analyst and author of How Obama Won, a comprehensive dissect of President-elect Barack Obamas journey to the White House.
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